A gentleman’s guide to jeans

There are some garments that every man should own, and a pair of jeans is undoubtedly one of them. A trusty denim pair can be worn with virtually everything and, when done correctly, exude a sophisticated nonchalance.

They are far from easy to purchase and end up becoming the subject of many gentleman’s qualms since finding the perfect fit can be a long and arduous task – if you don’t know where to look that is. So here’s our failsafe guide to ensure you know how to shop for the perfect pair.

Steve McQueen denim jeans

The fit

Of course, as with any garment of clothing, fit is the most important factor. Ideally, you want a slim but non restrictive cut, which flatters your body shape whilst allowing a decent range of movement.

This sounds easy enough, but when it comes to purchasing a quality pair of jeans the denim will stretch, so many brands recommend taking at least the next size down. Whilst they may be on the tight side at first, the jeans will eventually form to your leg shape, creating a fit that is entirely personal to you.

For those who swear-by the classic straight cut denim jeans, Sean Connery and Paul Newman were examples who captivated many of us without a pair of slim jeans in sight.

A gentleman’s guide to jeans

The terminology

For those unfamiliar with the world of denim, the terminology can be somewhat overwhelming to decipher. Here are the key terms you need to know:

  • Selvedge – Refers to the edge of woven fabric running down the side. It’s constructed in a way that won’t tear through extensive use, therefore lasting longer than a regular seam-edged jean. When you turn the cuff on selvedge jeans they will reveal a coloured stitching (usually red) running down both sides of the woven band.
  • Raw (aka dry) denim – Refers to denim that hasn’t been pre-washed. Raw denim is therefore more rigid and will need to be broken in, but it’ll age naturally, developing a unique patina over time.
  • Weight (oz) – Refers to how heavy the denim is. Under 12oz is lightweight (summer), 12oz – 16oz is mid-weight (year-round) and 16oz and over is heavyweight (winter).

Brands to watch: A.P.C.

A gentleman’s guide to jeans

Often regarded as offering the finest selvedge denim jeans around, A.P.C. are the first choice of connoisseurs across the planet. Famed for their minimal approach to design – these jeans have no logos, detailing or embellishments anywhere – making them perfect for those who value understatement. £135, mrporter.com

Levi's

A gentleman’s guide to jeans
Mr Porter

All-American brand Levi’s are most famous for their 501 jeans, which were worn by none other than James Dean. The 511 slim-fit stretch boasts a more contemporary fit though and, finished in classic navy, are the perfect pair for everyday ventures, and it’s the ultimate casual essential that only gets better with age. £85, mrporter.com

Acne Studios

Acne Studios jeans Mr Porter

Of all the achingly cool Swedish brands, Acne Studios are head and shoulders above the rest. Their minimalistic approach is evident throughout their entire clothing range, but their jeans remain a real highlight. Acne’s Vans stonewashed jeans in blue are just as versatile as their indigo and grey cousins, but they exude a refreshingly casual appeal, making them perfect for traversing in the city. £220, mrporter.com

Burberry

Burberry grey slim denim jeans

Established over 160 years ago in Basingstoke, Hampshire, Burberry is internationally renowned not only for their gabardine trenches, but exquisite craftsmanship and timeless design. Their signature slim-fit denim jeans are age-washed and we believe their grey pair is a contemporary alternative to indigo. £295, mrporter.com

Further Reading